This week on Occupy Radio, cohosts Rivera Sun and David Geitgey Sierralupe interview Michael Nagler, founder of the Metta Center for Nonviolence.
Those of us engaged in protesting the current failing system sometimes forget to remember the good things happening in our society, such as solar technology, local economies, and small-scale, organic agriculture. As a result, we can become plagued with a sense of hopelessness and despair as we engage in boycotts, strikes, blockades, and protests.
This week on Occupy Radio, my co-host Getch and I interviewed Michael Nagler, founder of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, about the Roadmap Compass, a new online, interactive tool that can help us gain a sense of perspective, hopefulness, and collaborative strategy between our various movements.
The Roadmap Compass is a visual symbol – a wheel with a set of concentric rings and six spokes outlining areas of attention: Climate Protection, Environment, Vibrant and Needs-Based Economies, Democracy and Social Justice, Nonviolent Resistance (including peace building), and New Story Creation. The Roadmap model focuses on solutions, constructive programs, and positive change. If you click on the various sections, the interactive tool connects you to discussion groups where you can see inspiring efforts toward a sustainable, equal, and just society.
The Roadmap’s emphasis brings together all three aspects of what Joanna Macy calls “The Great Turning“, which refers to this moment in human history where we are transitioning from a post-industrial growth society into a sustainable, life-affirming society. In the Great Turning, the three components of change are: holding actions, such as protests, boycotts, and strikes, that halt the worst of the destruction; new system creation, as in solar energy or barter networks; and changes to underlying cultural beliefs, like decolonization efforts, peace studies, and contemplative practices.
Both the Great Turning and the Roadmap Compass offer the activist community a sense of awareness of the role our efforts play in the whole transformation of society. In these models, all contributions toward positive change are placed in perspective to one another, allowing us to find solidarity in unexpected quarters of our culture. Farmers, teachers, parents, small business owners, inventors, and alternative media all offer forms of support for the changes we seek. As we grasp this broader understanding of our movement, we can begin to see that a revolution of the heart is, indeed, sweeping through our world, and a broad-based movement toward life is erupting.
If we expand our minds far enough, we can also see that even the Earth, the ecosystems, the plants and the animals are our allies in this great time of social change. Every tree that continues to produce oxygen, the mycelium fungi cleaning up toxic oil spills, and the evolution of species like the pizzlies (a cross between grizzlies and polar bears) are all attempts to find balance in a wildly out-of-whack time. The whole Earth is striving toward life along with an increasing number of awake and aware human beings.
“We’re not a handful of radicals . . . we’re all of Life, itself!” – The Dandelion Insurrection – a novel by Rivera Sun
Tools like the Roadmap Compass shift our conception of our activist movements from disempowered, isolated, exhausted and overworked struggles into a larger perspective in which those engaged in holding actions are the nonviolent guardians of our growing life-affirming society. We are peaceful warriors who will do no harm, but who will also not allow the devastation of people and the planet to continue. From this viewpoint, we are not merely an oppositional struggle; we offer a beautiful alternative to the dominant culture. We are not merely blocking the old, we are holding out a vision of hope for us all. We stand like gatekeepers on the threshold of the coming world, welcoming our fellow human beings – if only they will put down their weapons, their hate, greed, and their systems of destruction.
The bulk of our populace has been fed nothing but apocalypse, denial, and lies from the mass media apparatus. If they know what is going on, they are frightened and in despair. If we consistently present the solutions – and there are many – they will rally in droves to stand up for Life, Earth, and our children’s futures. As our civilization crumbles, we can help this breakdown become a breakthrough. By holding out a compelling vision of the new systems while opposing the destruction of the old, the activist community can sway the mainstream public into positive efforts toward change.
The life-affirming society we are working toward has demonstrated its resilience and resistance to destructive systems since the dawn of humanity. Its organic, life-based processes have endured throughout centuries of colonization, domination, warfare, and exploitation. The parasitic cultural mentality that sought to conquer Earth and control everything, including nature, is fighting a losing battle. From the outset, the dominator culture has been grossly outnumbered by the innumerable humans, plants, animals, and natural systems that have risen up again and again to ensure the continuation of life. Even as we stand on the brink of extinction, remember: we are many, they are few. And, in truth . . .
“We’re not resisting them . . . they’re resisting us!” – The Dandelion Insurrection
Listen to Occupy Radio’s interview with Michael Nagler http://occupythemedia.podomatic.com/entry/2014-03-05T23_59_04-08_00
Author/Actress Rivera Sun is a co-founder of the Love-In-Action Network, a co-host on Occupy Radio, and, in addition to her new novel, The Dandelion Insurrection, she is also the author of nine plays, a book of poetry, and her debut novel, Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, which celebrates everyday heroes who meet the challenges of climate change with compassion, spirit, and strength. www.riverasun.com